flat·​tery | \ ˈfla-tə-rē How to pronounce flattery (audio) \
plural flatteries

Definition of flattery

1a : the act or practice of flattering She uses the art of flattery to her advantage.
b(1) : something that flatters A compliment is flattery— Harry Shaw
(2) : insincere or excessive praise He tried to win his teacher's favor with flattery.
2 obsolete : a pleasing self-deception

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Examples of flattery in a Sentence

He tried to win his teacher's favor with flattery. a talk show host who is known for charming her guests with disingenuous flattery
Recent Examples on the Web This could mean as relatively little as trading some light flattery or a meaningful glance or an arm squeeze for an Oscar-party invite. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "The Weinstein Trial and the Myth of the Perfect Victim," 17 Feb. 2020 But this one swallowed his pride, and whispered flattery to his abuser, like Wormtongue in another kingdom, and praised the wisdom of the man who disgraced him. John Archibald | Jarchibald@al.com, al, "The Legend of Six White Men of a Certain Age," 12 Feb. 2020 You can be fooled by flattery and challenged to be at your best in group meetings. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Nov. 8, 2019: Happy birthday Gordon Ramsay; Sagittarius, be as wise as an owl," 8 Nov. 2019 The Ukrainian leader showered flattery on the Hollywood star, too. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Not so funny: Trump drama hobbles Ukraine’s comic-president," 5 Oct. 2019 To flatter people Feldman says flattery is one of the most common forms of deceit, which doesn't seem very surprising. Samantha Lauriello, Health.com, "Why Do People Lie? We Asked an Expert," 19 Sep. 2019 The highest form of flattery is acknowledging talent and paying them for their work. Deana Bianco, Billboard, "How Celebrity Accessories Designer Kerin Rose Gold Transforms Sunglasses Into Works of Art," 30 Jan. 2020 The original author had meant it as a criticism, the latter as flattery. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Roma Locuta Est, Deal With It," 28 Oct. 2019 As far back as 2000 sport-car makers have gone after body shops for selling multiple imitations of iconic cars without permission, while one-offs created by hobbyists were seen as flattery. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Are those fake Lamborghinis and Bugattis sold online just about fun? Or is it fraud?," 21 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flattery.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of flattery

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for flattery

see flatter entry 1

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Time Traveler for flattery

Time Traveler

The first known use of flattery was in the 14th century

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Statistics for flattery

Last Updated

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Flattery.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flattery. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for flattery


How to pronounce flattery (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of flattery

: praise that is not sincere


flat·​tery | \ ˈfla-tə-rē How to pronounce flattery (audio) \
plural flatteries

Kids Definition of flattery

: praise that is not deserved or meant

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Comments on flattery

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